From WikiEducator
Jump to: navigation, search

Dr Peter Wilkins

Office: 2657 (South Building, New West Campus)

Course Description

This course focuses on novels and graphic narratives that deal with characters' entry into adulthood. Our emphasis for investigation will be the roles that gender and gender conventions play in these texts. The characters tend to be nominal adults or teenagers who are not yet fully identified with the adult world, so they are in a liminal state that offers possibilities for expression and experience seemingly denied to those older and younger than themselves. Gender codes can be fluid and mysterious, allowing for open attitudes and aesthetic and sexual experimentation, set against the rigidity of parents and the innocence of children. In this mystery and confusion lies a potential for discovering alternatives to conventional living that may ultimately close up again but for the time being allow freedom. The texts we will explore offer different contexts for and interpretations of this transitional experience.

Because we will be looking at word-only and word-plus-picture narratives, the issues of genre and medium will be significant to our study. 

The course has a substantial reading load so you must be a good reader to be successful, but the reading is aimed at a contemporary audience and is not especially difficult. In addition to studying the texts, we will devote time to strategies for reading and writing about literature. Furthermore, we will discuss the different conventions for reading and discussing graphic novels, and conventional novels.

Most of the work for this course is based on collaborative projects and active learning principles. There will be very little lecturing and lots of doing.  

Texts (in order of discussion)

Ghost World, Daniel Clowes

The Virgin Suicides, Jeffrey Eugenides

Fun Home, Alison Bechdel

Towelhead, Alicia Erian

La Perdida, Jessica Abel 


Collaborative Projects

One for each text 10% each, 50% total

Midterm Essay 

In-Class Essay 15%

Final Essay

In-Class Essay 25%

Written in the Exam Period

Reading Exams

X2 10%

Ghost World/ Virgin Suicides Review Slideshow

File Drop for Section 003 (Tuesdays and Thursdays)

Please upload your documents here

File Drop for Section 004 (Mondays and Wednesdays)

Please upload your documents here.

Laptops, Tablets, and Phones

I encourage you to bring to class a device, such as a laptop, an iPad, or a smart phone, that is capable of connecting to the Douglas College wi-fi system because we will be doing a lot of work that requires looking things up on the internet. It is not necessary that everyone have such a device, but it is important that all groups have access to at least one. A laptop is the best option because it will have an easier time staying connected to the wi-fi system. 

Using "The Cloud," Privacy, and Informed Consent

Several of the web tools that I will be recommending that you use for collaborating, such as Google Documents and Prezi, involve signing up for an account and use servers that may be located in the United States; the information stored on them may be subject to the Patriot Act and  accessed by United States' authorities without a warrant. It is your choice whether or not you want to use these tools. If you are not comfortable using them, please see me about alternatives. 

Some Guidelines

Regular class attendance is necessary, otherwise, you will let your group down. If illness or work requirements cause you to miss several classes, you should drop the course.  
You must attend 70% of classes to receive a grade.
You must complete all assignments to pass the course.
Rewrites of assignments are not permitted.
No make up assignments or grade enhancement assignments are permitted.
If you receive a grade on an assignment that you believe is unfair, you may re-submit it with a one-page, single-spaced argument about why you think the paper should receive a higher grade. If we still disagree after that, you can submit the assignment to the English Department for an informal review. Two other instructors will review and grade a clean copy of your assignment, which will receive the average of the two grades they come up with. The grade on your paper can be lowered by this process.
All Douglas College policies will be in effect for this course. In particular, I draw your attention to the Academic Dishonesty Policy and the User Conduct Policy

A Typical Day in Class

Introduction and instructor comments (10-15 minutes)

Group Work on collaborative projects (60 minutes)

This work will result in a mini presentation for the final segment of the class.
5 slides. Each person in the group presents a slide. Use Prezi, Google Docs, Keynote or the like. 
Each slide should be covered in a minute, and should clearly mark progress from the preceding day.
These slides can be saved and modified for your final presentation.
In order to produce a decent presentation, your group work will be intense.

Break  (10 Minutes) 

Work Review/ Mini Presentation (30 minutes) 

A Typical Book Sequence

It will generally take us two weeks or four two-hour class sessions to cover a text. Section 004 occasionally gets fewer sessions per text because of holidays. 

The first two or three sessions will involve intensive group work with short reporting out periods at the end of class.

The final session will be devoted to completed, polished presentations. I will structure the sessions so that the final one falls on the first class meeting of the week so that you can have the weekend to finish up your work.

Some Linked Documents

Writing about literature


Section 003 click on this link to see the syllabus in calendar form. 

Section 004 click on this link to see the syllabus in calendar form. 

Click on the event to see details for that day's work and due dates. Please note that these details are in abbreviated form; they will be fleshed out as we progress through the term. 

There will be a final exam during the exam period. It will be added to the syllabus once we know the date. 

For Next Class

Section 003

Tuesday is the last day to do group work on "La Perdida." On Thursday we will begin presentations.

Section 004

Monday is the last day to do group work on La Perdida. On Wednesday we will begin presentations